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Serving the Dharmic Religions #2 – Jainism

Over the last year, our publications team in Kauai has been quietly working on a sizable side project sponsored by the Uberoi Foundation. The project is intended to assist in the presentation of the four Dharmic faiths, Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism, as per the foundation’s goal. This particular video is meant to teach the Jain religion in California 6th grade social studies classes. The Jain Center of Southern California (JCSC) located in Buena Park, California, is a non-profit religious organization to pursue a goal of practicing, promoting and preserving the Jain religion. Started in 1979, the present center of 13,000 sq. ft. was opened in 2008 to accommodate the growing Jain population. The exterior design of the center is inspired and reminiscent of ancient Jain temples of Delwada, Ranakpur and Paliana Tirths. Carved Jesalmer yellow limestone was designed and produced in India for the exterior of the building, and the interior uses natural stone including white marble and colorful granite. Each video will allow students to experience these temples as a digital school tour, when visiting them in person might not be possible.

Directed by Mainak Dhar, Produced by Gabriel Bruskoff.

TAYUMANAVAR POEM

We have just finished our second pass through the 1,454 songs of Tayumanavar, a task that took almost daily sessions of two hours for over a year. Yea!

To celebrate, we offer you one of the songs in our English and also in the original Tamil. Plus a BEFORE/AFTER slider of one of the ten works of art our Kerala muralist completed for the project. This will give insight into the process from idea to sketch to final color on canvas. Just move the slider right and left.

CANTO FIFTY-FIVE அகவல்

The Call

Song 1

O perfection-fullness that came in guru's form, filled with knowledge supreme and replete with grace divine! You who stood undivided as One! You of blemishless form pure!

You, the ever undiminished Being and ocean of goodness. You are the beginning; You are the end. You are the bliss; You are the light. You are the truth; You are the endless first Being. Out of Your divine grace You created the earth and all the worlds. Out of the four birth sources 1 You created the seven life genera.2

And so that species could multiply, You created bodies from atoms to mountains, and time, from moment to eon. And as their past karmas deserve, You created the conditions for the life-mass to live for awhile, albeit they have no knowledge of their own and are helpless. Whatever bodies in which they were born, they are happy to be and wish not to part. Towards that end You instilled the love instinct in them and fostered growth, making them feel their body is they.

Thus were they filled with ignorance seeming like knowledge. You fixed time, karma and order, along with hell and high heaven, in impartiality to reach. In endless love You established innumerable faiths, that they might pursue the four ends: dharma, artha and the rest.3 Then, as guru, You imparted knowledge, with each faith contending their own stand as the ultimate truth. Thus arose disputations and scriptures numerous.

In all these You invariably stood beyond, above all faiths. All the celestials and the munis offered themselves. Praying for You to accept them in grace, they hankered for You. In return, You showed them the blemishless wisdom. And to me, who has no wisdom, it is for You to show Your compassionate grace.

Notes:

1. Birth sources refers to egg, sweat, seed and womb.

2. The seven genera refers to celestials, humans, animals, birds, reptiles, aquatic life and plants.

3. Dharma, artha and the rest is a reference to the purusharthas: virtue, wealth, love and liberation.

திருவருள் ஞானஞ் சிறந்தருள் கொழிக்குங் குருவடி வான குறைவிலா நிறைவே நின்ற ஒன்றே நின்மல வடிவே குன்றாப் பொருளே குணப்பெருங் கடலே ஆதியும் அந்தமும் ஆனந்த மயமாஞ் சோதியே சத்தே தொலைவிலா முதலே சீர்மலி தெய்வத் திருவரு ளதனால் பார்முத லண்டப் பரப்பெலாம் நிறுவி அண்டசம் முதலாம் எண்தரு நால்வகை ஏழு பிறவியில் தாழா தோங்கும் அனந்த யோனியில் இனம்பெற மல்க அணுமுத லசல மான ஆக்கையுங் கணமுத லளவிற் கற்ப காலமுங் கன்மப் பகுதித் தொன்மைக் கீடா இமைப்பொழு தேனுந் தமக்கென அறிவிலா ஏழை உயிர்த்திரள வாழ அமைத்தனை எவ்வுடல் எடுத்தார் அவ்வுடல் வாழ்க்கை இன்ப மெனவே துன்ப மிலையெனப் பிரியா வண்ணம் உரிமையின் வளர்க்க ஆதர வாகக் காதலும் அமைத்திட் டூக மின்றியே தேகம் நானென அறிவு போலறி யாமை இயக்கிக் காலமுங் கன்மமுங் கட்டுங் காட்டியே மேலும் நரகமும் மேதகு சுவர்க்கமும் மாலற வகுத்தனை ஏலும் வண்ணம் அமையாக் காதலிற் சமய கோடி அறம்பொரு ளாதி திறம்படு நிலையில் குருவா யுணர்த்தி யொருவர்போ லனைவருந் தத்தம் நிலையே முத்தி முடிவென வாத தர்க்கமும் போத நூல்களும் நிறைவிற் காட்டியே குறைவின்றி வயங்க அங்கங்கு நின்றனை எங்கு மாகிச் சமயா தீதத் தன்மை யாகி இமையோர் முதலிய யாவரும் முனிவருந் தம்மைக் கொடுத்திட்டெம்மை யாளென ஏசற் றிருக்க மாசற்ற ஞான நலமும் காட்டினை ஞானமி லேற்கு நிலையுங் காட்டுதல் நின்னருட் கடனே.

Serving the Dharmic Religions #1 – Buddhism

Over the last year, our publications team in Kauai has been quietly working on a sizable side project sponsored by the Uberoi Foundation. The project is intended to assist in the presentation of the four Dharmic faiths, Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism, as per the foundation's goal. This particular video is meant to teach the Buddhist religion in California 6th grade social studies classes. The ten-minute video is hosted by Rimban William Briones who describes the temple’s origins and basics of their beliefs. The temple was begun in 1905 by the Japanese community of Los Angeles. It belongs to Jodo Shinshu Hongwanji-ha, one of the largest denominations of the Pure Land stream of Mahayana Buddhism, and the largest Buddhist denomination in the United States. The video is the first to be released. Each one will allow students to experience these temples as a digital school tour, when visiting them in person might not be possible.

Directed by Mainak Dhar, Produced by Gabriel Bruskoff.

Digital Hinduism

This book was recently sent to us. To our surprise, the very first chapter is dedicated to a small order of Saiva monks living on a far island. It's a bit academic, but it has some rather thought-provoking things to say about Gurudeva's little order, and so we thought to share it.

Gurudeva always loved using the latest technology, whether typesetters, Walkman recorders or Macintoshes. By encouraging his monks to embrace high-end tools, he amplified their abilities to push forward the mission.

As you will see, it worked. Here are excerpts of the chapter:


Abstract:

The Significance of Non-Participatory
Digital Religion
The Saiva Siddhanta Church and the
Development of a Global Hinduism

There are just a small number of websites that have appeared consistently in the top ten during the research period. For example, a search conducted on November 13, 2004, revealed the following five websites in the top ten of the Google rankings: religioustolerance.org. hinduism, bbc.co. uk/religion/religions/Hinduism, hinduism.about.com, hinduismtoday.com, and himalayanacademy.com9 (see Scheifinger 2008: 36). These same websites also appeared in a search conducted almost 12 years later on August 29, 2016. These websites also featured when the intervening searches were conducted.

Especially noteworthy is the fact that not only is it the case that a single group has two of these websites (himalayanacademy.com and hinduismtoday.com) that have such a strong online presence, but that it is the only religious organization among those responsible for the five websites. This organization is the SSC and it, along with details regarding its online presence and its influence within Hinduism, will now be discussed.

This chapter has demonstrated four undeniable facts. These are that the SSC has an incredibly strong online presence (the extent of which has been revealed in the methodology section of this chapter), that it pursues its aims online (evidenced by my discussion of the contents of its websites), that new forms of digital media mean that the internet is now embedded in many people's lives, and that the SSC wields influence within Hinduism which belies its size. I

In combination, these facts give rise to the following claim: that the SSC's online presence is an important factor in the development of the global form of Hinduism discussed in this chapter, and thus it plays a role in the way that Hinduism is perceived by non-Hindus and understood by Hindus themselves.

Despite these points, it is safe to say that it is highly unlikely that this small order of twenty monks living on a Hawaiian island, deriving from a particular Hindu tradition "representing fewer than three million of the world's ... Hindus" (Martin 2001) would be able to have the influence discussed in this chapter if it had not been so successful in its engagement with contemporary digital media. . . .

Monks’ Cookbook

Our cookbook is out of print, proof (if it was needed) that people love to cook and eat. This week we updated it, asking ChatGPT to make us some new and relevant images. You can see a couple of the results in the slideshow, all painted by DALL-E, the intelligent but highly artificial artist.

The files are ready and today they go off to Amazon. Huh! Yes, Amazon, the company that already manages much of life, now wants to take over the on-demand printing business. We are trying their service for the first time.

The history of the Monks' Cookbook is that as Gurudeva traveled across the globe, he was invited to special meals in devotees' homes. Naturally, the Ammas brought out all of the family's heirloom recipes to serve to the Satguru, and so the meals were extraordinary. The best of the best were captured by having a swami run into the kitchen after the meal, and write down Amma's recipe.

One by one they were captured, and for 20 years it was only used in the monastery kitchen on Kauai, kept in a 3-ring binder. Inside were punched pages, typed with a tool I think they called a typewriter, with pages stained with ghee and spices. Finally, in 1997 Gurudeva gave permission to print it and share the riches.

You can now read it online, purchase or download the free ePub or PDF here:
https://kauaishindumonastery.com/books/monks-cookbook/

Of Missions, Mountaineers & Mushrooms

It was a close call, but our annual Digital Dharma Drive met and exceeded the goal of $75,000, a good harbinger on this first day of 2024. We are enormously grateful for all the generous giving and can spend another year innovating, creating Hindu resources and keeping our deep website evolving to meet the needs of the day.

Also today an intrepid monk, camera in hand, found a colony of small fairy inkcap mushrooms (Coprinellus disseminatus) out near Iraivan temple getting their heads together to map out the new year. See them later in the slideshow.

Powers of the Spine – Part 3

Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami gives his weekly upadesha in Kadavul Temple at Kauai’s Hindu Monastery in Hawaii. It is part of a series of talks elaborating on the inspired teachings of Satguru Śivaya Subramuniyaswami as found in his book Merging With Śiva.

"Once in either current for a long time, it is difficult to flow awareness out of it. There are some people who are predominantly piṅgalā, aggressive in nature and strong in their human elements in that area. There are some people who are predominantly iḍā: human, physical and earthy, and full of feeling. And there are some who switch from one to the other. These are the more rounded and well-adjusted type of people, who can move awareness through the piṅgalā current and through the iḍā current and adjust the energies almost at will."

Powers of the Spine – Part 2

Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami gives his weekly upadesha in Kadavul Temple at Kauai’s Hindu Monastery in Hawaii. It is part of a series of talks elaborating on the inspired teachings of Satguru Śivaya Subramuniyaswami as found in his book Merging With Śiva.

"Once in either current for a long time, it is difficult to flow awareness out of it. There are some people who are predominantly piṅgalā, aggressive in nature and strong in their human elements in that area. There are some people who are predominantly iḍā: human, physical and earthy, and full of feeling. And there are some who switch from one to the other. These are the more rounded and well-adjusted type of people, who can move awareness through the piṅgalā current and through the iḍā current and adjust the energies almost at will."

HOLY SIVA SONGS

The monks continue almost daily work on the Siva songs of Saint Tayumanavar. Once in a while we wish we could share them all with you, and we will, once the book is published. In the meantime, here are two from yesterday's editing session.

Canto 40, Song 5
Alone, standing as the astounding pure void, if You call all lives to You and merge them in one inextricable mukti of unending bliss that we call God, will it diminish this play of Your manifold creation?





Song 6
Gathering universes all while losing not a single atom, You put them all into an atom. Gathering atoms all, You made them into universes vast. So mighty are You! Do what You will!




How Monks Use ChatGTP: A Word Game!

Aum Namah Sivaya

Apart from the usual articles we've all read, where the author describes the wonders of ChatGTP and then at the end they tell you that Chat wrote everything you read, there are other interesting uses for this and similar machine-learning tools. A major one of which is being able to write code.

Today we asked ChatGTP4 several simple questions to produce what we were looking for. Our first prompt: Write the html, css and javascript for a simple in-browser word game that includes at least 15 spiritual words from hinduism and yoga. Within 20 seconds we had the code for a working example. It even did pretty well with the definitions of the words. But it was a little plain so we prompted it to add more color and a different font. We also asked it to do a few other small changes such as improving the way it refreshed for a new word. Just a few sentences in english, and the ai updated our code for exactly that. We didn't do any manual adjustments the the above game, this was all built by AI. All we did was upload it to our website. Have fun! (And no, this article's words were not written by AI)

Archives are now available through 2001. Light colored days have no posts. 1998-2001 coming later.

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